The MoMa Never Called

April 16 – April 29, 2016

Opening Reception: April 16, 5:00-7:00 pm, Clough Hanson Gallery

The exhibition is composed of the work of the 2017 Rhodes College graduating Art majors. These artists are Lara Johnson, Morgan Kulesza, Hannah Lewellen, Shiqi Li, Sophia Mason, Kat Millis, and Lexi Perkins. The materials vary from tea leaves and wood to Acrylic paint and toys, all unique to each of the artists.

Lara Johnson Too often we are distracted by the "important;" by the big, scary, life defining events that will shape our futures. My work focuses, instead, on the little things. Like the look someone gives you in a conversation, the smell of freshly microwaved lean cuisine, or the felling in the pit of your stomach when you can't find your keys. These moments are the ones that define a person. Through my performance I become a surrogate for these universal experiences and, with video documentation, amplify them to an absurd degree. In doing so, my audience is forced to consider these "mundane" moments with the weight of the "important" and they and I will have a connection, even if it's just for a moment. 

Morgan Kulesza My past experiences of feeling silenced or a loss of power directs my process and conceptualization. Imagery and mark making allow me to assert myself, which feels powerful and like I am reclaiming my voice. I laboriously create pure moments, tarnish, and piece back together using the struggle for a resolution while not ignoring the past to guide my thoughts and actions. 

Hannah Lewellen My art practice gives me the chance to recreate landscapes that are a familiar comfort, while incorporating an other-worldliness quality to them. Trees may sprout from the sky or plummet underground, making the world turn upside down. Forms will drip off the paper or canvas, melting into another moment. My process allows me to make uncontrolled marks that Ican methodically work back into as I face the failures and successes on the surface in front of me. For me, it is the act of creating and the process that is just as meaningful as the outcome and I hope that the viewers can lose themselves in the work as I do in the process. 

Shiqi Li My work explores a sense of place, identity, home, and memory. I am attempting to understand the relationship between these four things and my own trans- cultural context. I often use translucent materials like paper and fabric to create a longing, lost, and poetic tone in the work. These soft and light materials fog our vision, creating an experience like memory-distant, fragile, and faint. My sculptures and installations create a special perspective to make viewers feel outside the narrative while also offering a chance to peek into the work. I employ cultural and domestic symbols that my audience may not always understand but to which they can bring their own personal interpretation. I hope viewers recall dormant memories of place and understand how they are tied to identity. 

Sophia Mason As I consider where religion fails and succeeds, my work presents an irreverent, playful reality where every-day tools become the playthings of faith and devotion. I draw on art history, religious architecture, and ritual objects to force meaning onto these pointless visions. The sculptures' forms entertain me when they pucker and slump as I try to translate them into flimsier materials. In intensely caring for them, their embellishment leans toward a gaudy and overwrought sanctity. The soft sculptures in concert with evocative sound and smell then put on a good show of straightforward, functional uses, but once installed with careful precision in a gallery space, they flaunt their uselessness and take on loaded metaphors. 

Kat Millis I use drawing, painting, and mixed media to flesh out my uncertainties about sexual freedom and its attempt to reject, confuse, and perpetuate the historically oppressed female body. Through appropriating pornographic images and applying various treatments, I entrap, liberate, celebrate, and shame. Through the display of the objectified female, I examine my position as the artist, assuming both feminine and masculine roles, and exploring the power of both realms. 

Lexi Perkins I make work to give physical body to feminine aggression. Through assembling mixed media female figures, forms, and faces, I channel my anger and create beautiful, confrontational, and monstrously flirtatious works. It's sickly sweet, alluring and repulsive; it's been destroyed, but lovingly repaired with tape and thread. A warm, pink, shiny wetness swallows viewers, while yellow, neon, plastic and glitter crudely and clumsily obscure, conceal, and expose. The work wants attention; it is confident and fragile. As a playful, flamboyant, abstracted extension of myself, it behaves as I often do- seducing and repelling in a concentrated effort to control and confound the audience.